LOS ANGELES (AP) — If Netflix's "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development" on Thursday become the first online contenders to nab top Emmy nominations, it will be a breakthrough moment for shows making a splash without the aid of a TV set.
If not, it's just a matter of time before the inevitable happens.
The video universe that once meant simply broadcast television, then added cable and satellite, has splintered again to encompass websites including YouTube and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon.
The expansion was recognized in 2008 by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a rules change that added the Internet as an eligible Emmy platform. As with broadcast networks and other video distributors, programs must reach more than half of the U.S. audience to make the cut.
When the Emmy nods are announced early Thursday, a fair number of pundits say clever political drama "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development," the offbeat sitcom resurrected by Netflix after it was dumped by Fox, will be in the awards hunt.
The series are tagged for possible top drama and comedy bids, with "House of Cards" stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and "Arrested Development" cast members including Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter seen as contenders for acting nominations.
There have been Internet nominees before, such as last year's "Web Therapy" and "30 Rock: The Webisodes" in a short-format category, but not in the premier fields of acting and best series.
Online shows competing with Emmy champs "Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" will be the 21st- century version of the watershed 1990s showings by HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show, "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" in those high-gloss categories.